Smoked Boston Butt

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Smoked Boston Butt is a fan favorite in the South. Decadent Pork Shoulder slow smoked over a wood fire just can’t be beat. We show you an absolutely simple and delicious rub to take it from good to great!

serving of Boston butt

Smoked Boston Butt Perfection

We love a great BBQ. We look for any and all reasons to get together with family and friends and smoke something on the grill. We have even been known to do this with neighbors at the first peek of Spring and warm weather. Boston Butt is a favorite of Big D’s. Probably because he has mastered it!

I begged and pleaded with him and he is willing to share his smoking hot secrets with you all! There are many secrets to a really good Boston Butt and he is allowing me to spill the beans on all of them! Speaking of Beans, you may also want to check out our recipe for BBQ BAKED BEANS WITH SMOKED SAUSAGE. Trust me when I tell you they are the perfect addition to any BBQ you may be having!

What is it?

Boston Butt is commonly known as Pork Shoulder. It’s not from the hind end of the pig at all. It is a cut of meat from the area above the leg of the pig. Because of the fat content of this cut though, it turns into a tender, beautiful thing when cooked low and slow.

So why is it called Boston Butt? Well there is no mention in print until about 1915 but it is commonly believed to have come from butchers in the Boston Massachusetts area. This was a common affordable cut of meat they provided for many a hungry family. Why Butt you ask? Well apparently it had more to do with storage. Because it was a kind of discarded cut from the pig, butchers stored them in big barrels called “Butts”. Hence the name.

I am the Queen of worthless information. What can I say? I love food facts.

No matter why you call it Boston Butt, if you’ve never had it, I urge you to try it, it is so delicious! And to prepare you, we are going to show you how!

How to Make It.

All of Big D’s secrets are about to be out. From the spices used to make a great rub to the technique he uses to always have a great Boston Butt. He renders the fat for flavor but not so much that you will have greasy hands eating it on a sandwich. Here we will show you how to get the perfect Pork Butt every single time.

  • 7-8 Pound Pork Butt (shoulder) Bone in– Inexpensive cut of pork that slow cooks to BBQ perfection.
  • 1/4 cup Seasoning Salt – we love a good all purpose Seasoning Salt. My personal favorite is Lawry’s
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar – Just a touch of sweetness to compliment the salt. Also helps make that beautiful Bark.
  • 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons sugar – again, sugar aids in tenderizing the meat with the salt but also provides that gorgeous Bark on the outside of the meat. A flavorful way to seal in moisture.
  • 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika– the smokiness of the this Hungarian paprika is a distinct flavor you won’t find in regular paprika. Smokes makes a difference.
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic powder– why not? garlic is like butter, it makes everything better!
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper– to add a little spice without being too spicy!
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Ground Mustard – more for tenderizing than flavor. Ground mustard have very little flavor but more an acidity and adds a little tart to the salty and sweet.
Boston Butt Rub ingredients

Here is where we get down to the Nitty Gritty. Lots of great tips here!

  1. Mix all Rub ingredients together in a bowl. Spread evenly on Pork Butt on all sides.
  2. Heat enough charcoal to get your fire started. We use a charcoal chimney for this. Just enough to start a good fire in your firebox or on one end of your grill. Once coals are hot, spread in the bottom and add a few small pieces of wood, careful not to overfill your firebox or grill bottom. Heat fire to 250-300 degrees.
  3. Once 250-300 degrees is reached, place seasoned Pork butt on indirect heat away from fire/smoke source, fat side up. Smoke for 3-4 hours unwrapped to brown and form sear bark on outside of meat.
  4. After sear time, carefully move Pork Butt to a pan and wrap securely with enough foil to cover entire surface. Place back on smoker/grill on indirect heat and cook for another 3-4 hours depending on size of Pork Butt. As a general rule, cook time is about an hour per pound. We do half of that time unwrapped and the other half wrapped. Also, during both cook times, make sure to feed the fire accordingly to maintain 250-300 degree temp inside smoker. A thermometer is recommended. Cook to internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  5. When cook time is done, remove from heat and place in a pan and poke a hole in the foil to drain excess fat from inside of the wrapping. Let drain for 30-45 minutes and then allow meat to rest until cool enough to handle. Unwrap, remove the bone, this should happen easily and cleanly. Shred meat and serve with your without your favorite BBQ sauce!

Tips and Tricks

When is the best time of day to Smoke Pork Butt?

The answer to that is simple. Whenever you have time to stay with it. Maintaining that 250-300 degree temp is of super importance. The steady stream of heat and smoke will insure perfect results. Check your fire and temperature often to make sure optimal conditions are there the majority of the time.

How do I keep it from being too greasy?

The trick to that is simple. While the meat is resting, placing it in a pan that can catch the grease is a great idea. Pork shoulder has a good size fat cap and a good bit of it cooks down into and around the meat but is caught by the foil wrapping. Having it rest in a pan and then more importantly, poking a hole in the wrap insures that you only get the grease that is needed to make the meat moist, not greasy.

How will I know when it is done?

Make sure to notice where the bone is. When about 6 hours (for a 7-8 pound butt) place a meat thermometer as close to the bone as possible and make sure the internal temp near the bone is 165 degrees. Follow the instructions to drain grease and allow meat to rest before removing bone and shredding or pulling the meat.

As long as you are committed, there is no reason this recipe shouldn’t be just perfect. The trick to anything you cook low and slow is always going to being able to stay with it. Careful attention to detail, heat and fire maintenance is a key component to a successful Boston Butt. We hope that you will find it is easy to do this and that rewards are second to none!

If you make this recipe, be sure and post it to Facebook or Instagram and tag us. We love pictures of food. Also, if you pin this recipe, we would appreciate that when you make it, you use the Made It function in Pinterest too. 

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a large serving of Boston butt

Smoked Boston Butt

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 55 minutes

Smoked Boston Butt is a fan favorite in the South. Decadent Pork Shoulder slow smoked over a wood fire just can't be beat. We show you an absolutely simple and delicious rub to take it from good to great!

Ingredients

  • * 7-8 Pound Pork Butt (shoulder) Bone in
  • * 1/4 cup Seasoning Salt
  • * 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • * 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • * 2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • * 1/2 Tablespoon Garlic powder
  • * 1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • * 1/2 Tablespoon Ground Mustard

Instructions

  1. Mix all Rub ingredients together in a bowl. Spread evenly on Pork Butt on all sides.
  2. Heat enough charcoal to get your fire started. We use a charcoal chimney for this. Just enough to start a good fire in your firebox or on one end of your grill. Once coals are hot, spread in the bottom and add a few small pieces of wood, careful not to overfill your firebox or grill bottom. Heat fire to 250-300 degrees.
  3. Once 250-300 degrees is reached, place seasoned Pork butt on indirect heat away from fire/smoke source, fat side up. Smoke for 3-4 hours unwrapped to brown and form sear bark on outside of meat.
  4. After sear time, carefully move Pork Butt to a pan and wrap securely with enough foil to cover entire surface. Place back on smoker/grill on indirect heat and cook for another 3-4 hours depending on size of Pork Butt. As a general rule, cook time is about an hour per pound. We do half of that time unwrapped and the other half wrapped. Also, during both cook times, make sure to feed the fire accordingly to maintain 250-300 degree temp inside smoker. A thermometer is recommended. Cook to internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  5. When cook time is done, remove from heat and place in a pan and poke a hole in the foil to drain excess fat from inside of the wrapping. Let drain for 10-15 minutes and then allow meat to rest until cool enough to handle. Unwrap, remove the bone, this should happen easily and cleanly. Shred meat and serve with your without your favorite BBQ sauce!
Nutrition Information
Yield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 553Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 200mgSodium 1270mgCarbohydrates 3gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 60g

**Nutritional Values are estimates only

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